The Gospel we would prefer

Pastor Matthew Best
5 min readSep 6, 2019

I read stories about self-professed Christians who have some weird ideas of what Christianity is about. I see comments to stories and in social media threads that proclaim loudly beliefs about Christianity that are anything but Christian. I’m not talking about disagreements over policies or politics either. Christians legitimately have a wide range of views about policies and politics. There are legitimate debates about the means of accomplishing what Jesus calls us to. I’m not talking about these debates.

No, instead, when I read these things, I come away with the conclusion that there are Christians who literally have no idea what Christianity is about. Some of these people I assume have been going to church their entire lives. And I wonder — how did they come to these beliefs about Christianity when these beliefs are in direct conflict with Jesus? I don’t know.

It’s the Gospel of Jesus versus the Gospel of Jesus we’d prefer. To buy into this preferred Gospel, there’s a few things you need to do. 1. Forget all the things Jesus actually said. 2. Don’t open a Bible. 3. Limit Jesus to a couple of simple ideas without any real implications to life.

Here’s what this might sound like. Forget all the stories about Jesus and the poor, the foreigner, difficult sayings, and afflicting the comfortable. Those stories get in the way. Instead, re-write the stories to match your beliefs. That’s a Scripture that people will actually read.

Remember the feeding of the 5000 Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 9? Especially when the disciples want to send the people away to feed themselves and Jesus says “You feed them.” The new version of the story would have Jesus agreeing with the disciples, probably calling the people lazy, and something about always looking for a handout. This new Jesus is great. No more concern for the poor and hungry — they are on their own. Sounds just like Jesus, doesn’t it?

Remember when Jesus said this classic line in Luke 6:27–28 — “‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Yeah, forget that. The new Jesus says screw that — forget about loving your enemy. Instead bomb them, kill them, make them pay! That’s what tough guy Jesus would do. Make them submit. Doesn’t that sound so much more satisfying? Jesus, you are on a roll now.

Remember Paul’s writing in Galatians 3:28 — “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no…

Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.